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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Re: [mukto-mona] Let us not criticize religions, criticize religion-peddling

Well, if we go into the territories of rewards and punishments from God and protection of the clan being mandated in some religions, we would be criticizing religions. I do not want to go there.
My emphasis is on how humans treat other humans. I want people to stop hating innocent people, irrespective of what they see in their religious books. I put the onus on today's people, not on some centuries old religious books. We certainly need to reeducate hateful minds, irrespective of what the source of the hatred is.
Sukhamaya Bain 
From: Jiten Roy <>
Sent: Tuesday, July 3, 2012 9:32 PM
Subject: Re: [mukto-mona] Let us not criticize religions, criticize religion-peddling
I have thought about the question also - as to why people get offended by the criticism of their religions; why can't they leave it to God.  This is what I found.
People are interested in religion not only for the eternal rewards, but - also they are also interested in the brand name of the clan. Religion is no different from other commercial commodity. It needs to be sold for continued expansion, and criticism is not good for the business, and also for the reputation of the clan.  As a result, people cannot wait for God's punishment.
Now, the tolerance level of criticism varies from followers to followers. Some followers may care more about eternal rewards than expansionism. They will have more tolerance to criticism. Some followers could be totally indifferent of criticism. It's a matter of priority.
Having said that, I have to recognize that, while protecting the brand name is discouraged in some religions, it is mandatory in others. 
Jiten Roy--- On Tue, 7/3/12, Sukhamaya Bain <> wrote:

From: Sukhamaya Bain <>
Subject: Re: [mukto-mona] Let us not criticize religions, criticize religion-peddling
To: "" <>
Date: Tuesday, July 3, 2012, 4:36 PM

Along with making a little correction in my post below, let me put forth my thoughts on one of the terms that I have used.
Abusing Religion:
From time to time, many religious people accuse non-religious people and people of other religions of abusing their religion. Example: if someone were to open up the Bible and criticize something in it, he/she would be accused by some Christians of abusing their religion. I said "some" (as opposed to "many") for Christians, because I believe this group has progressed significantly for a lot of them to ignore such criticisms.
However, let us try some logic. What can be more abuse for God (Allah, Bhagaban, whatever else in other lanugages) than the so-called believers to think that He is not almighty, and that He needs help from them? What can be more doubting of God's power than thinking that He needs humans to fight for Him (or for His religion) in this world?
The way I see it, if someone actually insulted God or His messenger, a true believer could feel pity for the insulter. Because, according to the belief, the insult was against the most powerful, and the insulter might have invited big trouble for himself/herself in the form of punishment from God. If God knew best, the believer would have no business prescribing a punishment for the insulter. The most civilized and caring action for the believer would be to pray to God to change the insulter's mind, the power of which God certainly has according to his/her true belief.
The bottom line is, if religion was really for believing in the almighty God (Allah, Bhagaban, whatever else in other lanugages), as opposed to forming/maintaining/expanding a clan, there should be no reason for humans to fight, or to hate, for maintaining or promoting it.
Sukhamaya Bain
From: Sukhamaya Bain <>
To: "" <>
Sent: Sunday, July 1, 2012 9:32 AM
Subject: [mukto-mona] Let us not criticize religions, criticize religion-peddling
Indeed, I believe most of us in this forum are opposed to religion-peddling, as Ms. Majid wrote. As I wrote before, there is no point in opening up religious books for criticism, even when that might look scholarly.
I am opposed to the use, misuse and abuse of religions, all of which have caused a lot of division, hatred and injustice in the world. While I do not follow any religion, I am not unwilling to do something just because if was found in a religious book. In other words, I am perfectly OK to implement in my life anything that is good in the Koran, for example.
To me, all religious books are part of my history. None of them are "my religion" or "someone else's religion." I am open to follow anything good in any book. I have no animosity toward any religion. For me, no religion needs to have cadres of defenders.
However, I am certainly for discarding anything bad in any book. And I am unwilling to dig for contexts by which a seemingly bad teaching can be interpreted to be OK or good. Nor do I have time for overly-brainwashed 'scholars', who try to sustain and promote nonsense in what they think is 'their religion'.
The bottom line is, we should fight division, hatred and injustice that are promoted via use, misuse and abuse of religions.
Sukhamaya Bain
From: subimal chakrabarty <>
To: "" <>
Sent: Friday, June 29, 2012 7:35 PM
Subject: Re: [mukto-mona] Voice of the People
There is a gray area between religion itself and the way it is used by vested interest groups. In a God fearing society it is unproductive and sometimes catastrophic to bluntly criticize a religion. It antagonizes common people and the reactionary forces get an excuse to pull them on their own side. But can a society really progress without pointing out the weaknesses in a religion? Obviously, No. But if we do so, religious feelings of the believers cannot but be hurt. It is a dilemma indeed. When Dipa Mehta shows in her film "Water" the quote from Gandhi and Manusanhita side by side, the Hindutvabadis do not like it. But we come to know that Gandhi did not endorse all of sage Manu's sacred pronouncements.
From: Farida Majid <>
Sent: Friday, June 29, 2012 8:55 AM
Subject: RE: [mukto-mona] Voice of the People
                  Do we all agree, on this one point, that we are all opposed to religion-peddling? I fervently hope that the answer is: YES.                 If so, then it is our solemn duty to understand the matter of 'religion-peddling'.                          In this business of religion -peddling it is the 'peddling' part that should command our attention.  And that requires certain in-depth and close attention to politics. Religion is a very powerful cultural artifice, and since both politics and religion deal with a community of people, there has been a mix of the two from time immemorial.  But we are constantly talking about religion-related  social symptoms, and mis-diagnosing them as 'religion'.  Why? There are several reasons.  One, mental laziness.  It takes a lot more patience and astute observation to do a political analysis. It needs historical information.              Throughout the 16th century in Europe , for instance, the Catholic Church was fighting an intense political battle with the breaking up of the Church.  The execution of the Nolan Magus and poet, Giordano Bruno, who was not a scientist or mathematician like Nicholas Copernicus, and the persecution of astronomer Galileo, a couple of decades later are indicative of the Church's political authority under severe pressure.  It is silly to cite this as the paradigmatic 'science v. religion' struggle.  It is a singular historical event within the context of Europe .               Both Dawkins and Hitchens are being totally dishonest in their discussions against religion. Dawkins is addressing the Creationists exclusively, and Hitchens's arguments apply to the Jehadists only.  Neither has the courage and intelligence of Karen Armstrong who discards the construction of the binary opposition of 'science v. religion' and refuses any hierarchical positioning of the two branches of knowledge.               Two, critiquing religion is a mask for communalism.  More on that later.                               Farida Majid


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"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it".
               -Beatrice Hall [pseudonym: S.G. Tallentyre], 190

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